“The federal government doesn’t seem willing to stand up to the big rail corporations”
By Michael Bramadat-Willcock
Local Journalism Initiative
NDP transport critic Taylor Bachrach says “slow progress” on railway safety should concern many Canadians as we approach 10 years since the Lac-Mégantic derailment on July 6.
“The Lac-Mégantic disaster opened Canadians’ eyes to the magnitude and horrifying consequences of the worst case scenario,” Bachrach told The Record in an interview.
“And we see these trains go through our communities every day.”
In 2013 an unmanned runaway train carrying 72 tankers of crude oil derailed near the centre of the town.
Oil tankers exploded and the oil caught fire approaching the level crossing at Frontenac Street, killing 47 people and destroying much of the town centre.
The National Safety Board found that leaving a train unattended on a main line, failure to apply enough handbrakes, and no backup safety mechanism were the main causes of the disaster.
The potential for another railway disaster involving dangerous goods isn’t lost on Bachrach, who says rail safety is top of mind in his northern British Columbia riding of Skeena—Bulkley Valley.
The MP contends recommendations from a 2022 rail safety report weren’t addressed in amendments to the Railway Safety Act and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act.
The report made suggestions to address fatigue among rail workers, with more unannounced safety inspections and that rail companies be more transparent with local emergency services.